The US Open
2 September 2001
A. COSTA/G. Ivanisevic, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6
Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.
You've had a few problems with Costa the last four matches now. How do you feel on today's performance? Do you feel today was one you could have got back in?
Yeah, I think I play good tennis today. First set I had a break. I had a set point in the second set. I had chances in the third. I could win in three sets. I think most important points, lots of easy mistakes I made. Third set, I gave him a break with the four volley mistakes, then I got a break back. A lot of these crucial points, I played bad and he play good. He's the guy who doesn't give anything for free, is very solid player from both sides, forehand and backhand. I didn't put one first serve in the third set tiebreak, so it's very tough. But overall, I think I play good tennis. Nothing to do. I gave my best, tried everything, and I lost.
Did you call on the Emergency Goran and he wasn't answering this time?
No, I didn't have to call any emergency. I think I was very calm, everything was under control. It's not that I play bad and I had to call, I was snapping out. I just miss some easy shots, you know. You can't call anybody when you miss easy shots. You just have to figure it out, how you put it in.
Today, unfortunately, those easy volleys, easy forehands was not supposed to go in, then you lose the match like that. I could win easy three sets, but I lost three sets. That's life.
How is your shoulder?
It's okay. It didn't bother me today. Like I say, I don't think about my shoulder when I get into the tennis court. But I didn't put a lot of first serve when I need, especially in that tiebreak in the third set, not one first serve in. Is enough with the second serve to always have to risk it.
A lot of chances. I miss. Some very strange, strange things on the net. That's it.
You've had such a wonderful summer. If you had to describe it in a word or two, what would those words be?
It was good. Everything is fine. I'm very happy with my performance. Everything is fine. You know, I am disappointed because I lost, but overall, after Wimbledon, my tennis is improving, I am improving, I'm happier, playing good tennis. It's like a great thing when you leave the court, you get standing ovation almost. It makes you happy. You leave happy man New York. That's great. That means that I gave my best, that people had a good time, they like to watch me. I think I did my best, so I can't be unhappy. But still, you know, nobody likes to lose.
When you were flying back from Australia after the disastrous start of the year, in your wildest dreams could you imagine having this kind of year?
No, it was so bad. It was a long flight, tough flight, disgusting flight, all kind of bad. You can't be happy. You sit there and you just unhappy even sitting, standing, eating, watching movie, you're not happy. Now I'm happy. Now, the people are fun, I have fun, I give my best, played good matches here in the States; especially here. I lost a match today I could have won, but I didn't. I go forward, looking forward to the next tournament, see what happens.
So the food now tastes better?
I don't know. I flying with Delta. I don't know how the food is there. Pretty shaky food there. I eat before the flight, then I take a nap.
Looking back at what happened around Wimbledon, what has it meant to you to be able to get Drazen's name back in people's minds? Was that as fulfilling for you as winning the tournament?
These people, they forgot. They forgot very quick. That happened eight years ago. But is nice, you know. I always wanted to do that because I promised '93 that I going to delegate, play for him, but I was not able. So I had my chance this year, I did it. I didn't forget. He was always there. For me he was best basketball player in Europe.
I think if he sees me, I think he saw me from up there, he was also proud of me. He was happy that I won and I play good tennis.
What did that mean to his family, his parents?
They appreciate a lot. His father and mother came when I came to Split. His mother was crying. It's nice when you can make -- they suffer and it's nice if you can make them happy at least a little bit.
You're known around the world for your fantastic tattoo, girls demanding to see it. Earlier in the week Bob Bryan said he would consider getting a tattoo, but his dad would kill him. Could you give Bob some advice? Do you think he should go for it?
I don't know. I was also not scared, but when I had my tattoo, what is my father going to say to me. He was not a happy man, you know. He said to me, because in Croatia, we have German TV, every Saturday night there's a show with hookers. They have also tattoo. He told me, "You and hookers, have you tattoos on your back." I mean, he should go for it. I always wanted tattoo. Nobody can take it. What your father can do? He can be angry for one week, two weeks, he gets over it.
That did not lead to his health problems, your tattoo?
No, no. He had problems before. Now he's okay with my tattoo. He doesn't like, but he can live with that.
Why does Costa give you so much trouble?
I mean, the guy who plays very solid tennis always gives you tennis. If you don't play good, you can lose to anybody. But he's a good player. He's the Spanish guy who can come in, who is not a typical Spanish player. He is very aggressive. He can come in. He can serve and volley.
You know, if you don't play good against him, you lose to him. But today, the match could be around. This is the most happiest time I play, most best time. I beat him once. The matches before I lost was pretty bad, I didn't have any chance. But today I had a lot of chances. Like I said before, those easy things what I missed, I shouldn't miss against guys like that.
What is your schedule now?
We have Davis Cup to qualify for the World Group against Italy on clay. I don't know how my shoulder is going to survive that. It's going to be tricky. I actually have Bucharest the week before that to prepare for that on the clay, maybe have one, two matches for Davis Cup. Then we have Davis Cup, which is important for us. Then indoor whatever.
If you had to pick someone to win The Open, who do you think?
I mean, tomorrow you have matches like it's a joke. Agassi/Federer, then Sampras/Rafter, then winners play each other. It's tough. It's tough. You have Marat, who is picking his game, playing better and better every game.
On my side of the draw, today I saw Roddick just killing Corretja, I mean all power. He's hitting those forehands. So it's pretty open. I don't know. I don't know if he can still keep that level of game. I'm a little bit scared that he's not still, he's going to go. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think he can produce another four matches, three matches like that.
I will go for one of these four: sampras, Rafter, Agassi or Safin to win. I don't know which one, but one of these four is going to win. But I would like somebody who didn't win yet to win, you know. Also Roddick never won, so maybe it's his chance.
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